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Origin of high mountains in the continents: The Southern Sierra Nevada

January 1, 1996

Active and passive seismic experiments show that the southern Sierra, despite standing 1.8 to 2.8 kilometers above its surroundings, is underlain by crust of similar seismic thickness, about 30 to 40 kilometers. Thermobarometry of xenolith suites and magnetotelluric profiles indicate that the upper mantle is eclogitic to depths of 60 kilometers beneath the western and central parts of the range, but little subcrustal lithosphere is present beneath the eastern High Sierra and adjacent Basin and Range. These and other data imply the crust of both the High Sierra and Basin and Range thinned by a factor of 2 since 20 million years ago, at odds with purported late Cenozoic regional uplift of some 2 kilometers.

Publication Year 1996
Title Origin of high mountains in the continents: The Southern Sierra Nevada
DOI 10.1126/science.271.5246.190
Authors B. Wernicke, R. Clayton, Mihai N. Ducea, C.H. Jones, S. Park, S. Ruppert, J. Saleeby, J.K. Snow, L. Squires, M. Fliedner, G. Jiracek, Rebecca Hylton Keller, S. Klemperer, J. Luetgert, P. Malin, K. Miller, Walter D. Mooney, H. Oliver, R. Phinney
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70018585
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center